Among the fondest memories of a child (or child-at-heart) might be the sight of a bicycle near the Christmas tree. On December 20, The Boise Bicycle Project helped make new memories for hundreds of Treasure Valley.
It was The Boise Bicycle’s 8th annual Christmas Kid’s Bike Giveaway and by the end of the day over 354 children rode away with new bikes.
“For a lot of these kids this is their very first bicycle,”Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Boise Bicycle Project Jimmy Hallyburton said. “It’s certainly something that they wouldn’t be getting for Christmas otherwise.”
The event has certainly come a long way in just seven years. From giving away just 17 bikes in its first year, it has now given away more than 3,000 bicycles to kids all across the Boise community.
“It is a very sustainable program that recycles bikes that kids grow out of which still have a lot of life in them and provides bikes to kids that might not otherwise have one for Christmas,” Boise City Council President Maryanne Jordan said. “Everyone wins today.”
For the last three months every Tuesday and Thursday night from 6pm to 8pm countless volunteers have been working on refurbishing the donated bikes that The Boise Bicycle project had been receiving throughout the year.
“These volunteers have been working away getting their hands dirty turning these used discarded bicycles into these kids dream bikes,” Hallyburton said.
Despite all the hard work and preparation the event almost didn’t happen.
“This year we were actually short on bicycles for the kids who had signed up,” Hallyburton said.
The community though came to Hallyburton and The Boise Bicycle Project’s aid.
“We put a big callout to the community and had 160 bicycles donated in one day,” Hallyburton said.
The event not only saw kids get new bicycles but also a lesson in safety as well.
“We want to make sure that they know how the bike stops and how to signal,” volunteer Brad Deteau said. “Make sure they are following the law and the rules of the road.”
To make sure the kids were getting the best safety tips possible the Boise City Police Department was also on hand to provide kids knowledge on how to stay safe on the road as well as to hand out lights for their bikes.
“Bike safety starts at a very early age and it’s vitally important they know the basics at this age,” Boise City Police Chief Mike Masterson said.
For Hallyburton he sees this event as so much more then kids just getting free bikes.
“For a lot of these kids coming from these lower income neighborhoods they don’t have transportation so these bikes are a ticket and a tool to a better life.”
The event was a major success this year and Hallyburton knows it couldn’t have been accomplished without the help of everyone in the community.
“We just have been so lucky and have had so much community support.” “Everyone has really come together to make this possible.”